The Church Street Fetish Fair is now the Church Street Village Fair. Organizers hope the change signals to people that the event is more “inclusive and geared to all ages,” says the co-chair of the Church and Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area (CWVBIA).
Avery Pitcher says the reason for the change is simply that the businesses along Church St were not reporting much profit. “That is what the BIA mission is, to make the businesses more busy and to bring customers in.”
The BIA has been working with local businesses and festival organizers to redesign the fair, she says. The fair takes place Aug 14.
“We want the fair to be all-inclusive, all ages and all walks of life,” she says. “It will be a carnival with a Ferris wheel and big blow-up games. There will also be a bull ride and a climbing wall. Most of the games are geared to adults.”
Pitcher says the new name for the festival is the Church Street Village Fair: Leather to Lace. “It’s not going to focus on fetish, but the fetish will still be involved,” she says. “Will the leather community feel they have been reduced? Probably.”
Toronto Leather Pride (TLP) president Jack Pearce says he considers the Church Street Village Fair and TLP to be “two totally different events.”
On the decision to include “leather and lace” in the event’s new title, Pearce says wryly, “No comment. Lace is never worn with leather.”
The first Toronto Leather Pride weekend takes place Aug 11–14. “The leather community will have their main event at Zipperz,” Pitcher points out. “This is not about getting rid of the leather. This is about bringing people in.”
On the day of the Church Street Village Fair, Pitcher promises there will be plenty of leather and fetish street vendors. “All the same vendors were invited back.”
Originally the BIA requested that the city extend Church St to Carlton St for the day, but the city turned down the request, says Pearce, who sent Xtra a copy of an email showing the request’s denial. As a result, the fair will end on the north side of Alexander St, he says.
In the letter, Pitcher states, “In fact, the city will only allow us to close to the north side of Alexander St, which in itself presents certain space restrictions. With Zipperz being outside of the BIA zone and outside the barricaded area, we will need to connect to see what kind of signage is needed to make sure the leather event is being promoted to the fair-goers.”
The CWVBIA does not include Zipperz, Pearce says.
“The city refused to extend the street because Zipperz was not included in the BIA area, but oddly enough they extend the street for Pride,” Pearce points out. “That is very curious. Curious, curious.”
When Xtra called the city clerk’s office, administration clerk Lynn Armstrong could not find any record of the street extension request or the city’s refusal.
Pearce doesn’t think being at Zipperz will affect TLP participant numbers. “Leather people and kink people, we find each other.”
Toronto Leather Pride kicks off at the Phoenix Concert Hall Aug 13 for the Leather, Bootblack and Rubber contests, followed by the Leather Ball 17 later that night. Doors open at 6:30pm.